Most people know that England shipped thousands of convicts to Australia, but few are aware that colonial America was the original destination for Britain's unwanted criminals. In the 18th century, thousands of British convicts like Bell were separated from their families, chained together in the hold of a ship, and carried off to America. What happened to these convicts once they arrived? Did they eventually prosper in an environment of unlimited opportunity, or were they ostracized by other colonists and doomed to live in poverty?
Anthony Vaver tells the stories of the petty thieves and professional criminals who were subjected to this unique punishment, and in bringing to life this forgotten chapter in American history, he challenges the way we think about immigration to early America.
The book includes an appendix with tips on researching individual convicts who were transported to America.